Dragon's Den is prowling through Prince George for the latest innovative entrepreneurs.
The popular CBC Television show brings interesting and potentially lucrative business ideas in front of a panel of actual wealthy investors. If the idea catches their shrewd business eye, the panelists individually pitch money at the project (sometimes bidding against each other) or sometimes laughing the idea out the door.
The show's reconnaissance teams have been to Prince George multiple times in the past, calling several candidates for follow-up auditions. The most recent activity here was filming local artist Jean Jacques Giguere's inventive variation of the sport of hockey (he called it vitockey) based on calculations derived from the "golden mean" formula used by artists and engineers.
Dragon's Den producers also showed advanced interest in Brent Goerz's company called Simple Pine Boxes which built custom caskets that doubled as bookshelves or storage chests until the day you need it as your final resting place. The business pitch did not receive a blessing from the panel of investors, but did attract a local congregation of customers for their home-based operation.
Bar and liquor store owner Cam Thun, inventor of the Rat Trap security foyer for his business entrances, also got some interest from the show's producers. Although it got no major investment from the "dragons" on the panel, the Rat Trap has gone on to capture dozens of would-be thieves from area businesses using the double-door devise.
The biggest Prince George success with a Dragon's Den connection was Alia Pierini, who got a $100,000 investment in her business proposal (Relia-Gal Snow Removal) after winning the elimination rounds in the Dragon's Den spinoff show Redemption Inc. with host Kevin O'Leary (one of the "dragons" on the main show). The show only lasted one season, but Relia-Gal is doing a thriving business.
Dragon's Den will be holding open auditions in Prince George on Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Civic Centre.
"This is a fantastic opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to come down and pitch their business concept for the chance to appear on national television," said Amanda Nadon-Langlois from the show's production team. "We would love to see as many people audition as we can."
Interested entrepreneurs are asked to visit the show's website for more information: www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/auditions.